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10 B2B Email Marketing Best Practices

A B2B email campaign is very different from a B2C campaign. According to Simms Jenkins there are three major differences:

  1. Your tone should be much like it would be in a face-to-face meeting with your prospects: direct, professional and in a manner that makes your audience want to do business with you. Don't waste your time building up to the pitch -- state why you are sending this message and what's in it for the recipient.
  2. The message should clearly articulate the purpose and value to the subscribers while making it easy for them to identify and act on any call to action. Don't bog them down with too many cross promotional messages or secondary marketing messages. Allow them to scan the email and find out what's in it for them.
  3. Your main measurement analysis should not be based on opens and clicks but on how many leads are generated. Careful attention should be paid to forwards and any additional email subscriptions generated from the campaign. A high open and clickthrough rate but lack of leads could mean you put up too many barriers to capture the lead. Ensure your landing page and relevant gateway pages (for example, the white paper sign-up page) are easy to find and utilize. This may take some coordination that goes outside the realm of a typical email manager.

Simms lists these 10 best practices in B2B email marketing:

  • Know your audience: If you are mailing to IT network administrators, an image-heavy newsletter probably will not be well received. Instead, send a text-only message. Follow the cues of what your audience is like and don't take a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Mobile email triage is real: An increasing number of business executives use their mobile devices/PDAs to perform email triage. This means that if you have a weak message or lack something compelling or of immediate value to your email, you may have the busy exec delete your email while in a meeting. On the flip side, a unique email with a relevant purpose may get saved for the executive to read in the office.
  • Make it easy for the mobile audience: Click here to read on your mobile phone is becoming more commonplace on B2B emails and may help you escape mobile email rendering snafus.
  • From & Subject lines: Emails from a CEO to a fellow executive tend to resonate. Ensure your From line is from someone who matters. Combine this with a short Subject line that can break through the clutter while demonstrating a reason for the user to read this email.
  • Short and sweet: Whether read on an iPhone or laptop, make your message count. That means make sure it gets read. Long emails without clear calls to action will get skimmed and deleted. Make your value proposition above the fold and obvious to the people that will browse over your email looking for a reason to read (or delete).
  • Don't oversell: Too many promises, customer raves or pricing information may overwhelm your audience and diminish your opportunity to have people click on a link where they can find the details of the service or product being offered.
  • Respect the audience's time: Frequency is a significant issue for all mailings, but if a business subscriber doesn't respond to the first two messages, it doesn't mean you should send to him even more frequently.
  • Test: I received seven different emails from a lead generation company in the span of five minutes this morning. The emails actually contained decent messaging and links to at least one relevant case study. They had me until hello occurred seven times. Someone was asleep at the wheel when the campaigns were segmented and set. Do your due diligence before an email is sent as these campaigns did more damage than good.
  • Offer something unique: A white paper can often work, but they are everywhere, aren't they? Provide access and perks that are gold to the C-suite audience. For example, one client attempting to register business executives for an annual event tested pricing breaks versus admission to a VIP event. Remember, the B2B audience usually isn't spending its own money so you can guess which offer performed better.
  • Remarket: Create a follow-up campaigns based on how each user responded (or didn't) to the initial campaign. Using your metrics can guide you to a better and more relevant strategy.

Source: iMedia Connection

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